Produce & Flowers

Hoffman Appalachian Farm

Owner: Joshua Brock

258 Taft Road
St. Marys, PA 15857
Elk County

daytime phone: (814) 404-2929
evening phone: (814) 404-2929
Web site:

Application Date: 2014-06-17

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
I worked on a farm in Longmont, Colorado a few years back (Ollin Farms - Mark Guttridge) and he was very proud of his CNG certification. This was before I understood the nuances of certification (CNG, organic, etc). I worked for an organic certification agency in PA, however I would like to attain both certifications. I believe deeply in the farmer to farmer aspect of CNG and very much support its mission!
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
If yes, please note which agencies and dates: *
CNG certified in 2014.
Have you ever been denied certification? *
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
Mark Guttridge, Ollin Farms in Longmont, CO.
How did you learn to farm, and for how long have you been farming for market? What has prepared you to farm successfully according to CNG standards? *

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
Number of above acreage that you own: *
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
If yes, how many acres are in conventional agriculture? *
If yes, please list what you are growing conventionally: *
We currently have a leasing Farmer using approximately 18 acres of our fields, the majority for RoundUp Ready corn, and well as oats. Our smaller yard (30 plants) falls under our current CNG certification. Our newly planted larger yard (400 plants) is in the last year of transition. We will apply for certification for it in 2019.
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
Fruit Crops:
Other Acreage:
Please check all items you grow and will market as Certified Naturally GrownTM *

Please Specify Any Other Items:
Please check all markets you grow for (this will be displayed on your farm profile to help potential buyers find you). *

Please Specify Other Markets:
Straub Brewery is the primary buyer of our hops and grains. Additionally we will sell to other small, independent craft breweries, home brewers, local families for the berries.

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
Front-tine hand tiller.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
If yes, please list: *
white clover
Do you use Compost? *
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
On farm grass clippings and leaves, locally purchased and complete composted mushroom compost.
Please list application rates. Give a specific amount or range (for example: one to two tons per acre, ten wheelbarrow loads per 1,000 square feet, or 1-2 inches deep). Do not answer "varies". *
2 inches deep
Do you use Manure? *
Please list any other brought in fertility sources that you use (specific rock powders, lime, soybean / alfalfa meal, specific purchased pre-mixes, etc)and how often it's used. If you indicate a name brand product, please also specify the ingredient/s. *
Jersey Sand (Fertrell), raw aragonite (Fertrell), Espoma organic Plant-tone, Alaska organic flower and vegetable food.
Have any chemical fertilizers been applied to the fields you are seeking Certification for in the last three years (36 months)? *
Have any non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides been applied to these fields in the last 3 years? *
Do you use Professional Soil Testing services? *
Describe your primary weed problems AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual weed challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
Lambsquarter, dandelions, clover, chicory. I use raised beds with the farm's grass/leave clippings that have been decomposing over the period of a year or more. I hand pull all weeds, use drip tape (no overhead mechanical watering system), substantial air flow in the hop yard. We also have utilized a flame weeder by hand.
Describe your primary insect challenges AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual pest challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
For preventative measures, we've done the following: I. Placement of the hop yard for full day sunlight • Allowing for hops to dry out in wetter weather making the plants more susceptible II. Spacing of rows and plants (and the yard in general) for significant air flow • Same idea with more sunlight...keep the vines dry and healthy and less susceptible III. Use of decomposed yard leaves/grass as cover mulch • Decreased natural weed pressure as well as to keep rain/moisture from splashing on lower leaves causing decay, weakening the plant and more susceptible IV. Drip tape and/or natural rain as irrigation (vs. overhead sprinklers) • Again related to keep the majority of the moisture directed at the rhizome/root itself where needed, not on the vines/leaves which encourages plant decay and disease. V. Removal of lower 2' of leaves. • Increased air circulation, decreased likelihood of those lower leaves closest to the ground being more susceptible to disease and pests. • If mites and/or decay are noticed on the leaves, removing by hand and completely removing from the hops yard so as not to be reintroduced. • Removal by hand of mites. • Use of Pyrethrum, insecticidal soap, and diatomaceous earth (as permitted per OMRI).
Describe your primary disease challenges AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual disease challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
As a precaution against downy mildew, we applied Actinovate (OMRI approved) to the bines once a week via a dedicated backpack sprayer. Substantial air circulation between hops plantings (4') and rows (17'), mulched beds to control weeds and add slow nitrogen release (in addition to the jersey sand and arogonite, Alaska and Espoma plant foods), drip tape irrigation.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
City water source pumped to a holding tank in the field, then feed through drip irrigation lines. That when natural rain won't suffice.
Are there any known contaminants in the irrigation water? *
Are you a maple producer who seeks to certify your sugarbush? *

Seeds, Transplants and Buffers

How do you select your seeds? CNG standards call for growers to make a good faith effort to locate organically grown seeds by contacting at least 3 major suppliers. *
Do you purchase or grow using any Genetically Modified seeds? *
Do you use any chemically treated seeds in your operation? *
Do you grow your own transplants? *
Do you purchase any transplants from outside sources? *
From which sources do you buy transplants? *
Great Lake Hops (this is for our new .75 acre yard which is currently in year 2 of transition) Blue Ridge Hops (certified organic Cascade and Nugget rhizomes) Backyard Berry Plants (Certified Organic Producer # IN-G2171-11 via MOSA)
How have you confirmed with your supplier that the transplants are grown without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
Please list any bought-in transplants not grown according to CNG standards. This produce may not be sold as Certified Naturally Grown (except, in the case of perennials, after twelve months of CNG cultivation). *
Not applicable
Chemical/Spray Drift and Buffers:
Is there any likelihood of Chemical/Spray drift contamination of your fields? *
Do you have an adequate buffer to protect yourself from potential contamination? *
Please describe your buffer. Be as specific as possible. On all sides, how far is it from your crops to the next closest use (road, conventional crop, residential yard)? Be sure to specify what is grown on neighboring land that is in agricultural use. For example: To the north and east, a wooded area of at least 100 yards separates us from the neighbor's corn fields, to the south is a fallow field at least 100 yards deep separating us from the road, and to the west about 60 feet separates our crops from a field where conventional corn and soybeans are grown. *
Both hop yards are separated from the conventionally planted and maintained corn and oats by 20-50 feet with a grass buffer.


Please indicate your agreement with the following statements by checking the boxes.
I will not label, or in any way lead consumers to believe that produce not raised in accord with CNG standards is Certified Naturally GrownTM. *
I understand that I have to complete at least one (and hopefully more) Certification Inspection(s) of another farm in my area each year, and that the inspection will NOT be of the same farmer that inspected me. *
I have reviewed the Certified Naturally Grown certification standards, I understand them, and I will abide by them. I understand that if I have any questions I may contact CNG for clarification. *
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm:
This was our sixth year with hops. I anticipate our yields will be slightly higher than 2017 due to better timing of training hops and the additional rainfall we had in the Summer 2018. That being said, our yields are still lacking as training occurred late, and our larger yard is stunted from a combination of high water table, hard pan and heavy clay soils. In 2019, we are looking to integrate "tile drains" and additional side tillage and hilling in the large yard, along with fertigation and on-time bine training. The farm is on the land that is owned by my family, John and Snooks Brock.